As a marketer, the Google algorithm can feel like your worst enemy. It’s constantly changing, and just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, a new update arrives, and it feels like it might throw off your entire SEO strategy.
For example, on August 25, Google released the “helpful content update.” It might be helpful to internet users, but it might seem like more of a hindrance to you and your team.
Are you confused by the latest Google search update? If so, you’re in the right place. You can find answers to your most pressing questions below.
What is Google’s helpful content update?
The helpful content update is one of this year’s latest Google algorithm updates. This update will reward websites that feature “people-first” content and penalise those that write content for search engines.
In other words, if you’ve been stuffing your content with target keywords or publishing blog posts merely for publishing’s sake of “fresh content”, it’s time to change your strategy.
Google is cracking down harder than ever on SEOs trying “swindle the algorithm,” meaning you might have to make some changes to your website content.
What does Google mean by “people-first”?
People-first content is written for humans to read, not for search engines to crawl.
For several years, many marketers have focused more on content quantity than quality to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Companies are pumping out blog posts loaded with keywords and formatted based on SEO “best practices”. However, this content, more often than not, doesn’t answer the users search intent, provide much value or can leave readers feeling they’ve had a negative experience interacting with the business’s website, blog, etc.
People-first content checks the following boxes:
- Has a clear central idea
- Is written with a specific audience in mind
- Provides in-depth insight into a particular topic
- Clearly answers readers’ questions
- Features valuable images, infographics, videos, etc.
- Uses headings, bullet lists, etc. to organise content and make it readable
- Includes links to credible sources
In a perfect world, you’d already be doing things. However, as a busy marketer, you may have focused more on the search engine and less on the actual reader.
Remember that the reader is the one who will buy your products or services, not the search engine. If someone doesn’t have a good experience engaging with your content, they will not follow through and make a purchase.